AMBLE youngsters have been getting expert help in brushing up their cricket skills, thanks to a coaching programme being delivered by Durham County Cricket Foundation in association with Tesco.
School pupils are taking part in the special 10-week programme, which is part of a partnership aiming to offer tuition to over 30,000 children in the North East and Cumbria over three years.
As well as being put through their paces by the Foundation’s professional coaches, students at Amble Middle School – one of the schools taking part in the scheme – were joined by one of Durham’s professional cricketers, seamer Chris Rushworth, who was on hand to share some specialist tips with the youngsters.
Year 8 pupil Olivia Robison, 12, who has been a member of Warkworth Cricket Club for three years, said: “It’s been really good fun – I love playing cricket and we’ve learnt lots of different techniques so everyone can improve together.”
The programme focuses on teaching the basics of cricket as well as developing technical skills, such as batting, bowling and fielding.
At the end of the scheme, a cricket festival is held, where participating schools visit a local cricket club to compete in a kwik-cricket tournament against each other.
Richard Hopper, manager of the Durham County Cricket Foundation, said: “The coaching sessions have been a real hit with the youngsters so far.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for kids to work with professionals and improve their cricketing and teamwork skills – which are then put into practice when they compete at their cricket festival.”
As well as Amble, the Durham County Cricket Foundation is also currently delivering coaching to schools in Gateshead, Washington and Crook.
Its Grassroots Sports Programme – sponsored by Tesco – aims to provide inspiration, motivation and raised self-esteem to children in local communities using the power of sport, and to emphasise the importance of healthy living and being involved in physical activity.
Tesco corporate affairs manager Doug Wilson said: “Tesco is proud to sponsor the Grassroots Sports Programme to encourage children to lead an active, balanced lifestyle.
“It’s great to give youngsters who are interested in cricket the opportunity to be inspired by professional players, learn new skills and make new friends.”